The 2017 Ride for a Difference has been completed. It was ridden in very challenging conditions and most importantly, everyone enjoyed the ride and returned safely. The three-day ride was a great example of staying positive and making the most of the circumstances.
Friday morning saw our team of 40 riders and 10 support crew meet at Campbelltown Hospital at 6:30 AM in the pouring rain. We quickly found out that our planned route via Wollongong and Macquarie Pass to Mittagong was closed. With some hasty planning, we rerouted the ride via Picton to Mittagong. A slightly shorter ride than planned, yet it was still a good challenge and believe it or not we stayed dry for most of the day.
Saturday morning was a 5:30 AM start and again we faced torrential rain. It forced us to delay the departure of the planned rides until 8 AM and the patience and understanding of the riders and crew was great in frustrating conditions. We were rewarded with a great day’s riding, albeit wet for most of the day. The stronger riders of Peloton A managed to complete most of the planned ride – approximately 170 kms and 3,500 metres of vertical climbing through Kangaroo Valley, Berry and back to Mittagong. Peloton B also had a great day and completed 100 kms through the Southern Highlands which for many of the riders was a personal best.
In keeping with the very wet theme, we awoke to pouring rain on Sunday morning and a strong wind from the North East for our return ride to Sydney. By this stage, everyone had come to terms with riding in the rain. We started in good spirits with the bonus of a generally descending ride from the Southern Highlands back to Sydney. We were greeted by family, the Delezios and a sausage sizzle on arrival at Campbelltown Hospital. There were many highlights over the three days – but none more so than the people involved and the spirit and attitude they brought to the event. At last count between the riders’ individual fundraising and corporate support, we have raised just on $120,000.
The money is going to the Day of Difference Foundation. It has developed a partnership with hospitals to create two new roles in the Trauma Department; a Trauma Family Support Nurse and a Trauma Social Worker to support and reduce the impact on a family that has the unfortunate experience of a child that is critically injured. The first hospital partnership is with the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (LCCH) in Brisbane where the Trauma Family Support Nurse has been recruited and the Trauma Social Worker appointment is imminent.
If you want to see more pictures from the ride feel free to visit our Facebook page. On behalf of myself and Greg O’Shea, the team at [axr] and the Day of Difference Foundation we thank everyone who volunteered, donated or participated for your support.